I finally graduated to being a qualified Indian driver of automobiles.
I had gone to get a mobile phone connection blocked after Mangal had lost her hand set and had to park in a place a bit away from the shop and where I had not been in many years. I could not see any No Parking signs and parked the car under a tree so that it would be cool when I returned.
On my return there was a message on the window glass to the effect that my car had been locked by a chain lock in the front with an arrow pointing to it. The message also gave a telephone number. I called the number given and was advised that a van will come around in five to ten minutes time to settle the matter. It did and I was shown the No Parking signs well hidden from sight due to over grown hedges and was informed that I would have to pay Rs.350.00 to get the lock unlocked. I did and was given two receipts one for Rs.100.00 and the other for Rs.250.00. After unlocking, the sign on the window was also wiped clean and I was allowed to drive away.
On reaching home Ranjan told me that if the vehicle had not been towed away, I need not have paid the second charge of Rs.250.00 and so I called the number stored in my mobile phone and complained that I was taken for a ride. The lady at the other end was most considerate and said that she would arrange for the refund and would see that it was made at my home in a few minutes. The same van came along with the same crew but this time I saw that the person wearing a traffic cop’s uniform in the front was a lady and she leaned down from the window of the van and gave me the refund after taking the second receipt back from me. She smiled and apologised for the inconvenience caused and that was that.
The moral of the story however is, had Ranjan not told me about the towing charges, I would not have known about it and the contractor would have pocketed the Rs.250.00 for doing nothing!
It feels awful that after 53 years of not having committed any kind of traffic offense, as a licensed driver, I committed one and paid a fine too.